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The Role of Political and Sexual Identity in the Works of Klaus Mann


James Robert Keller

This critical study attempts to determine the role of sexual and political identity in Klaus Mann’s works. By examining such recurrent thematic patterns as the work of art as progeny, supernatural births, the image of the writer as soldier and monk, or obsession with death, among others, the study finds in Klaus Mann a characteristic sense of «social self-identity.» This is the first book-length treatment of Mann’s fiction and non-fiction prose, drama, and diaries to show the interrelationship between his political development as an anti-fascist and his sexual identity as a gay writer. The theoretical approach to Mann’s works contrasts earlier twentieth-century conceptions of personal identity, articulated by such writers as Erik Erikson, Karen Horney, and Erich Fromm, with more recent thinking on identity questions.